Posts Tagged ‘Mark Dever’

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http://www.20schemes.com/mark-dever-introducing-20-schemes/

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Thank you to the many 1000’s who have supported this site over the last 18 months and I pray that you will continue to enjoy, be encouraged and be resourced by our new site.

Blessings to all!

Another great resource from 9Marks as Mark Dever delivers a sermon on the requirements for pastoral office. Download it here.

Mark Dever notes on The Gospel Coalition blog, that:

Since the Fall, the trajectory of unredeemed human history—the City of Man—is always in the Bible to judgment (the Flood, Babel, Canaan, Egypt, Jerusalem, Babylon, Rome & then Rev. 19). (Not quite as universal as gravity, but seemingly as inevitable in its overall tendency.)

For a comprehensive overview of the Pastor and his relation to his community, read his full article here. Others would take the opposite view and would suggest that the New Earth will have with it a new, improved human culture and, therefore, Christians and churches should be engaging in cultural renewal in the here and now. The bottom line question is:

Is our culture redeemable and should the church be engaged in this so-called cultural redemption?

Those who are seeking to engage with this issue, at least in the USA, are falling into (being herded into?) different ‘camps’. We have:

  1. Two Kingdom Proponents. (God is working through the church and we should not be engaging too heavily with worldly, dying culture).
  2. Transformationist Proponents. (The church should be active in seeking to redeem the culture as we move toward the end times).
  3. Counterculturalist Proponents. (The church stands as a clear model of God’s kingdom and, as such, is a prophetic voice against the prevailing worldly culture).
  4. Cultural Relevance Proponents. (Christians should be looking for where God is active in culture and affirm that).

Obviously, I have just simplified in a sentence what is often a confused, heavily nuanced and emotive debate across evangelical, theological and denominational divides. I find it very difficult to place myself in this list. Indeed, I find the whole culture of Christians ‘tagging’ one another more and more unhelpful as I get older. If anything, I am more inclined to numbers 1 & 3. I believe that our job, as a church, is to glorify God, preach the gospel and make disciples. In doing so, by sharing our lives and living in community, engaging with our neighbours, seeking the good of our scheme and living clearly counter cultural lives, then people will be drawn to Christ by His Spirit, born again and will, in time, person by person begin to make an impact in our community. Community renewal is therefore the by-product of gospel centred preaching and healthy churches. Who knows what that makes me!

What is helpful for this discussion is tracing the roots of many churches in Scotland and the UK as they have sought to engage, or not, with their culture in the past 30 years. So, many churches, likewise, believing that the world is going to hell in a handcart, have focused on preaching Christ, rescuing repentant sinners, and leaving the rest to their own devices. Others, believing that we have a role to play when God ultimately ushers in the renewal of all things at the end times, have sought to engage more with the surrounding culture. The danger for the former group is slipping into a form of separatism.  For the latter, it is slipping into a form of cultural accommodationalism. In fact, I see the legacy of both these positions in housing schemes up and down the country. It shows itself in two main ways.

1. Those who have historically fought for doctrinal and theological purity at the expense of cultural engagement (for fear of watering down the gospel) now find themselves on the fringes of schemes, with aged, dying congregations. They have a gospel with nobody to preach it to. It suits their worldview of “us against the world” and, sadly, it is leaving generations with no clue about the good news of Jesus. People aren’t going to church anymore than the church is going to them. It’s a sort of spiritual Mexican stand off. Each side is hardening their heart against the other as time wears on. One believing the church to be full of ancient, judgemental do-gooders and the other watching the world destroy itself because of their ungodly, sinfulness. Spiritual desolation and confusion ensues and we have schemes littered with dying congregation or none at all.

On the other hand, those who have sought to adapt and engage with culture at the expense of biblical truths tend to be very socially aware but, ironically, also have the same aged, dying congregations. These ‘churches’ (if we can call them that) are viewed as little more than social work agencies. They don’t see any sides but view us all as God’s children and the church as a force for ‘good’ in the community. The world sees them as a means to an end but not salt and light and certainly not a challenge to their souls. The church in this case is seen as more organic than organised – a church ‘without walls’ if you will. The result is the same empty churches as our friends above. The same dying congregations with no real spiritual impact on their community.

Sadly, both groups are losing out, with the real victims being the very people they are supposed to be reaching with the good news of Jesus Christ. Whilst the Christian world has been drawing their theological battle lines over culture and contextualisation, real, live souls have been (and still are in great numbers) perishing for lack of a concrete gospel witness in housing estates and schemes up and down our nation. In the (slightly adapted) words of some, old, dead dude: ‘A plague on all our houses’.

2. Because of this turn of events, much of the evangelism and community development work is being carried out in schemes by a combination of government agencies and para-church organisations. Many such groups visiting schools in schemes, teaching RE classes, running clubs and trying to reach young people for Christ, are largely (although not always) detached from local churches, and without any real long-term aims and objectives to combat the ‘congregational crisis’ we now face. On the one hand, how can we blame them when the local church is either (a) dead or (b) not doing its job (either from a lack of heart or because it is just unable to)?

The only way, in my opinion, to reverse these trends in our housing schemes is to plant new churches and/or renew existing ones.

Wherever this discussion goes, it is a cast iron fact that housing schemes need healthy, gospel centred churches to make a comeback. Why? Here are three quick reasons:

  1. A localised congregation gives a solid, consistent thrust for concerted evangelistic efforts. A community of Bible believing, gospel proclaiming Christians living right in the heart of a community is a far more powerful apologetic than a part-time witness.
  2. It offers a place for spiritual accountability for those working in the field. Many para-church workers I have met (particularly youth workers) have little or no spiritual accountability and have either been burned out or are in danger of burning out trying to deal with the rigours of a front line ministry in housing schemes. Gospel workers need the spiritual accountability and discipline that being a member of a local church brings.
  3. It offers a context in which young converts and believers can grow in discipleship and in community, together. So, it avoids the hit and miss problem of people parachuting in, trying to reach out and then leaving people in the wind until the outsiders return again. The local church has the responsibility to evangelise, disciple, nurture and prepare people to worship and serve the Living God in their respective communities.

A God glorifying, Bible believing, gospel preaching, actively discipling, healthy, local church living in Christian community, serving and loving one another is going to make an impact in a housing scheme. It is what we desperately need. Even a small, tightly knit band of brothers and sisters is going to effect cultural and community renewal. Not because that is its goal but because that is the spin-off power of the kingdom at work. Pray for us as through our 20Schemes initiative we seek to bring back gospel light to dark places through church revitalisation and planting.

To be continued…

Note: This is an updated version of a previous post.

In his book, Generous Justice, Tim Keller states:

“All I know is, if I don’t care about the poor, if my church doesn’t care about the poor, that’s evil.”

Jesse Johnson, writing an article for The Cripplegate Blog, has a somewhat different perspective. He writes:

…the fact of the matter is that nowhere does the Bible command the church to care for the poor of the world, to lower the poverty rates in society, or to care for the homeless in our community. There are zero verses that command this, and several that even argue against it.

The question of the role of the church in culture, particularly as it relates to matters of social justice, is popping up in all sorts of forums across the Christian spectrum and has been addressed in various blogs, articles and books from men like Mark Dever, John Piper, Tim Keller and Kevin DeYoung et al. I have no wish to denigrate their (weighty) opinions but I feel that this subject needs more commentary from (a) the so-called ‘poor’ to whom many are referring and (b) actual practitioners of gospel ministry in deprived areas and not only to them.

My concern, in this post, is to ask the question of the role of the church as it relates within a poor community. That, to my mind, is a somewhat different concern than a ministry to the poor and oppressed. Reaching out to the poor and planting a church among them are two entirely different propositions. In spite of the reams being written and said, when I have visited many church’s in the UK and overseas, I haven’t exactly been trampled to death by the stampede of poor people attending their services, never mind being trained up for future leadership!

Let me clarify. I am not, unlike many, trying to build a church with a heart for the poor (although that is not a bad thing), I am simply seeking to build a church of God worshippers in the heart of a deprived scheme. That is a somewhat more complex task on multiple levels than if I were, say, coming into Niddrie twice a week to do some schools work or to operate some kind of ‘outreach’ event. The latter may be viewed as some form of mercy ministry/outreach (although I would contest that) and the former I see as building the local church. Now, I am with Jesse (and others) when it comes to understanding that the commands to love the poor and care for the widow etc are there for the benefit of the Christian Community primarily (although by no means exclusively). He, I think correctly, gives voice to the concern of over emphasising the needs of the poor (although I disagree with his premise below):

I am making the observation that when money is going to soup kitchens, it is not going to missions. To guard against that, the church is never commanded to show compassion to the poor as a means for expanding the kingdom. Simply put, you owe the poor the gospel; Jesus died to purchase for them the privilege of hearing the testimony of his death and resurrection (1 Tim 2:6).

Mark Dever is even more direct on this topic.

We, as a congregation, are not required to take responsibility for the physical needs in the unbelieving community around us. We do have a responsibility to care for the needs of those within our congregation (Matt. 25:34-40; Acts 6:1-6; Gal. 6:2, 10; James 2:15-16; I John 3:17-19) though even within the church, there were further qualifications (e.g., II Thess. 3:10; I Tim. 5:3-16). Paul’s counsel to Timothy (in I Tim. 5:3-16) about which widows to care for seems to indicate that the list was intended for Christian widows. One qualification seemed to be lack of alternative sources of support. Thus the instruction that family members should care for the needy first, if at all possible, shows the kind of prioritization of allowing for families—even of unbelievers—to provide support so that the church wouldn’t have to do it (I Tim. 5:16). We can extrapolate from this to conclude that support that could be provided from outside the church (for instance, from the state) should be preferred over using church funds, thus freeing church funds to be used elsewhere.

I couldn’t agree more in terms of the financial aspect of social action and/or community development (however you want to define it). At Niddrie we are not concerned solely with financial handouts. We have, at times, used an interest free loan initiative (for members and non) which, whilst we have received back our money, has not helped people as we hoped it would. If anything, we enabled their perilous lifestyle choices (that’s one for another blog!) and in some cases maybe even made it worse.

People in Niddrie generally aren’t lacking financially and the state, if anything, is a hindrance in many ways to community development, rather than an aid to it. Of course, there are those who are struggling badly but in almost every case it is down to lifestyle choices. Our main issues here are to do with mental health not (very often) people who can’t feed themselves. Obviously, we have emergency situations and we deal with them as sensitively and unobtrusively as we can. Will we give someone a fiver if their heating has gone or some food if the cupboards are empty? That depends. Can we help you look more closely at your finances to help you budget better for these occurrences? Those who don’t want that help don’t get our money. It’s as simple as that. It’s not the most mathematical scenario, and we’ve had our fingers burned many times, but it is the best we can do.

However, it’s one thing reading Mark Dever’s paragraph from the safety of our laptops in a leafy suburb and quite another when you live in the maelstrom of chaotic lives in a Scottish housing scheme! Even when we know people have done it to themselves, it is extremely painful to listen to story after story of suffering, abuse and horror without feeling some sort of emotional want to reach out and ease it. It’s hard to take the members only approach when we see so many people day in and day out on the scheme.  These people may not become members, but they certainly become an intimate part of our lives. Surely, we have a biblical responsibility to them? Let’s remember that Galatians 6:10 says, So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Many reformed pastors will emphasis the last three words as a proof text for Dever’s position, but the text appears to indicate helping all regardless of affiliation. So, how do we avoid getting swamped then? How do we avoid just turning into another ‘social agency’? Simply, as a church we have clearly defined our mission to our community and the world.

Glorifying GOD, preaching the gospel and making disciples of Jesus Christ

Our main concern on this estate is the spiritual well being of its residents rather than expending (too much) energy on changing societal structures or partnering with Jesus in cultural transformation (whatever that means!). Again, many have written extensively on the issue of the church in relation to culture. Tim Keller has produced the following, helpful, diagram. Click the link here to view. At Niddrie the question is not where do we fall on Keller’s diagram but how does what we do match up with our mission? Is it leading us closer toward it or taking us further away? I find myself frustrated by the diagram because, as usual, it is men trying to box other men into corners. I think personally, and as a church, we probably have people who fall into all the categories in one context or another. I agree, the answer to our community sin problem (its greatest need) is salvation though Christ. But, sooner or later, discipleship kicks in. So, yes, we can strengthen their Christology and biblical doctrine, but we still have to walk them through abusive relationships, sexual dysfunction, threats from drug dealers, mental health problems etc. That becomes about loving them and practically seeking, where possible, to help them relieve some of their (often) self-imposed troubles. Fighting the macro causes of their issues doesn’t even get put on the table. We just haven’t got the time here even if we had the inclination! The answer, for us, is to make sure we keep the gospel front and centre. We can make mistakes in all of the other areas but once that starts to slip then we really are going to have problems!

Many (not all) Reformed Churches in the UK have, generally, operated out of a separatist mindset in housing schemes (if they have ever really operated at all). Many have gone down the ‘Word only’ route. This has left us with some serious problems which my generation of pastors has now been handed. So, what we need is careful thought and consideration as we discuss and think these issues through. The only real hope for areas like ours are healthy, gospel centred churches. That is the foundational underpinning of 20Schemes.

I want to continue this article tomorrow and look at some key issues and why I think the local church must be the centre for change in housing schemes.

Today is a bit of a Reformed doctrine day. I do this from time to time if I find some interesting articles. Church planting requires some theological thought and reflection, as well as an appreciation for church history (even if we don’t agree with some of it). I felt like it was predestined for me to write this for you today, but you have the free will to read these articles or not 🙂

The resurgence website have produced a helpful, albeit brief, article on the histories of the Scottish & Dutch Reformed theologies. As regular readers of this blog know, I hold to a Reformed theology but, unlike many under 40’s today (still 7 weeks or so left in my 30’s), mine is not based on the writings of Mark Driscoll or other so-called, ‘new Calvinists’. There is a little bit more weight of history behind these issues than that! To be fair to Driscoll, his blog highlights it here. I recommend it as a bit of light reading!

Piper has a good discussion here on the two wills of God. This requires a little more brain power!

There is a great resource on Justin Taylor’s blog which includes an article by Mark Dever. In it he asks the question,  ‘Where all these Calvinists have come from.’ Read it here. This will require some real thinking!

Happy reading (or not)!

I am still mulling this over in Niddrie. I am so slow to baptise here, largely because I fear doing it falsely and we end up with a community of people who ‘got baptised at the mission’ but are now nowhere with the Lord. we have seen so many profess faith over the years but 90% are nowhere. This is an ongoing battle. The attraction of baptising more people and we could baptise many) is that it makes look like a ministry is more successful and fruitful than it really is. One of the dangers, at least in my mind, of spontaneous baptism is that people do it in ‘the moment’ and don’t really count the cost of what it truly means to follow Christ and declare allegiance to Him publicly. Take a look at see what you think.

So, I am just back from my summer holidays and I had a bit of a 9marks love fest when it came to holiday reading. I have just picked this one off the top of my pile and I shall be reviewing each book, in no particular order, over the coming weeks. For the uninitiated to this site, this is how I review books at Niddrie Pastor.

1. Content. Is it biblical?

2. Application. Is it relevant?

3. Is it helpful for our type ministry in housing schemes?

The book comes in three distinct parts:

I. What does the Bible say? This is broken down into eight chapters which are suspiciously similar to 9 Marks of a healthy Church (in itself a great book, albeit missing prayer).

II. What has the church believed? This is a history lesson on the church, its ordinances and it’s organisation (spelled with a ‘Z’ in the book).

III. How does it all fit together? This is working how it all comes together in Baptist polity.

I greatly appreciated this book for a number of fundamental reasons. Firstly, it is a great clarion call to any church planter in any context to get to grips with what the scriptures teach us concerning the doctrine of the church. I am constantly amazed by how many church planters I meet who disregard ecclesiology and treat it almost like a harsh case of piles. They’ll deal with it if they have to but they certainly don’t want to think about, never mind talk about it. Dever helps us to grapple with the question in the opening chapter. Secondly, Dever is committed to the absolute inerrancy and all-sufficiency of the Bible when it comes to matters of faith and practice and, in this case, polity. It forces us to go to the Bible and justify the kind of church we want to plant. If we’re not planting churches and developing polity founded on the scriptures, what are they being founded upon? We don’t even have to agree with his conclusions to find that helpful. If I was to give one piece of advice to young men who want to get involved in church planting and, indeed, any pastoral ministry, it would be: ‘What is your doctrine of the church?’ Or, more specifically, ‘What kind of church are your trying to establish?’ Key questions that this book forces us to question.

I have many friends across all theological and ecclesiological persuasions and I hear many debates on ‘expressions’ of church or ‘new ways’ of doing community. Go to almost any meeting of young, eager church planters and you will find that they are almost dribbling into their Chai Tea lattes about ‘being community in a broken world’ or whatever. The bottom line, and Dever helps us to get to it quickly, is that ‘God’s eternal plan has always been to display his glory not just through individuals but through a corporate body.’ (p4) In the OT it was Israel and in the NT is it the church of God throughout the world (that’ll raise a few eyebrows in certain eschatalogical circles but not mine!). He describes the church as, ‘the koinonia or “fellowship” of people who have accepted and entered into the reign of God.’ (p13). Furthermore, it is, ‘one, holy, universal, and apostolic as a reflection of God’s unity, holiness, immensity, eternality and truthfulness.’ (p15)

So, what should a biblical church look like? Again, Dever is clear.

‘The church is generated by the right preaching of the Word. The church is distinguished and contained by the right administration of baptism and the Lord’s Supper.’ (p21)

We then get to the polity of the church and it is at this point that I find myself uncertain, not by the idea of congregationalism, but by its practice in the real world. We have the usual texts and arguments about establishing church leadership – church officers and the like. There is a short discussion on the term, ‘senior pastor’ with scant evidence to support it at best. This section may have been helped by citing some examples of what decisions the elders take and bring to the members and what decisions they leave up to the congregation. I found myself in agreement with large parts of this chapter but just uncertain as how to carry some of it out. I did find the following quote helpful, although it sounds suspiciously close to elder led rule to me.

‘The congregation is not in competition with the elders. The congregation’s authority is more like an emergency brake than a steering wheel. The congregation normally recognises than creates, responds rather than initiates, confirms rather than proposes.’ (p143)

I found the same problem in the area of church discipline. In an area like our it is such a big problem. We have practiced church discipline (successfully) in the past. At the moment in Niddrie I have been very slow (perhaps overly so) in baptising people and bringing them into church membership. This is for a whole host of reasons. People have messed up personal lives, still living with partners, still on prescribed medication etc. There are a whole host of reasons for caution. However, these people still profess Christ as Lord and sit under the authority of our teaching every week and, therefore, I feel, we have to counsel and discipline/exhort/encourage them. The only other option is to ignore them as not being church members. It is a bit of a quandary which the elders have not yet fully resolved. Again, this chapter could have been much more helpful in offering some examples (although I appreciate the danger of that). Life isn’t (ever) black and white for us here on the scheme and I am sure we take in members that other churches would never dream of. However, I am equally sure that we treat many pastoral cases that other churches do not.

I found the rest of the book to be pretty standard fare. The debate on closed or open communion was helpful. This has been an issue at NCC and I have blogged about it previously. His conclusion, entitled, ‘Why does it matter?’ was very strong and tied together a few loose ends.

‘The church is not only an institution founded by Christ; it is also His body. In it is reflected God’s own glory. How will theology, the Bible, and even God Himself be known apart from the church? What community will understand and explain God’s creation and providence to the world? How will the ravages of sin be explained, the person and work of Christ extolled, the Spirit’s saving work seen, and the return of Christ proclaimed to coming generations if not by the church?’ (p149)

This book should be read by prospective ( particularly baptistic) church planters. If for no other reason than to give them some clarity on this oft neglected doctrine. Too many entering into church planting think that they will get there through the gift of evangelism. The history of Scottish housing schemes is littered with mission halls that brought people Jesus but, in too many places, did not build on that sure foundation by building healthy, biblical churches. Too many of our schemes are being left in the hands of para church organisations that cannot fulfill the function of the local church in a community. Some of these organisations do great work but, as Dever so rightly reminds us,

The parachurch neither has the same commitment to systematically proclaiming the whole counsel of God, nor does it have the mechanisms of baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and church discipline for drawing a clear, bright line that says to the world, “Here are the people of God.” (p152)

Schemes need the church. Schemes need solid, biblical, healthy churches. Schemes need to see the gospel embodied in their midst. That embodiment is a community of God’s people engaged in gospel preaching and gospel living. This book is definitely worth a read. Buy a copy.

This is an excellent series of clips debating some of the issues around the gospel, social justice and the mission of the church.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Part V

Speaker: Mark Dever

Text: 1 Timothy 4:16

Title: False Conversions: The Suicide of the Church

This was more a talk than an exegetical message. I have to confess that I didn’t stay for the whole of this message (give me a break – I stayed for an hour!) but I will record what I heard. Mark is a great guy but the control he exercises over the timing of every part of his services, he doesn’t actually model himself (I suppose he doesn’t have to – being in charge and all!). Anyway, my observations.

There were three main points:

1. The Plan. God’s purpose is to get glory for himself through a people (Ps. 86:ff). This plan for his glory comes, ultimately, through the Lord Jesus and the gospel. This people are now the church of Christ.

2. The Problem. God’s people in the Old Testament were continually unfaithful (Ps. 106). They worshipped idols (Ro. 2v24). We read of how God exiles Israel for bringing shame to his name. They forgot just how important the honour of his name is to the Lord. Their holiness was directly attached to His reputation and glory. Similarly, our good deeds (in NT terms) reflect on God and His character (1 Pt. 2v12).

3. The Source of the problem. Why do we suffer with so many unbelievers and false converts in our congregations?

  • Teachers. Are we faithful to the truth?
  • Doctrine. Wrong teaching is disastrous! False teaching only produces false converts. We will be judged by God for this (2 Pt. 3). We SHOULD be judged for God for slackness in this area. We must feel our own helplessness and we should throw ourselves on His mercy. Our only hope is in Christ (1 Jn.). When we get this right we both attract and offend people.

His stand out quote is as follows:

We don’t see the fullness of our salvation in this life. Our basic posture as believers is “waiting” for our Lord’s return (1Cor. 15v18ff).

Application

This is a timely and prophetic reminder to us to watch our lives and doctrine closely, thereby saving our hearers. The temptation in housing scheme ministry is to denigrate doctrine as being somehow unnecessary and yet nothing could be further from the truth. We must be faithful to teach our people the “whole counsel of God” no matter the difficulty we find in doing that.

Even more fundamentally, we must be clear in our evangelism. People need to hear the full message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The danger in the face of indifference and hostility is to water it down or to make excuses for people who have come from difficult backgrounds. But, all are sinners and fall short of God’s glory and God calls all people everywhere to repent of their sins and trust in the saving work of Jesus.

As believers we serve people, love them and seek to do good deeds as a sign of our love for Christ, the honour of God’s name and the love of all people around us.

1. Make sure you prioritise time for people. Many pastors (correctly) tend to lean heavily toward study but there is a real danger of hiding away in an office (which far too many do). This is where I have been impressed by Mark Dever at Capitol Hill Baptist in Washington. When I spent a coupe of days with him last year his study was full of young men being trained and interacting with him. Likewise, church planters, particularly if they want to train future leaders, must make the time to invest in key people in order for leadership multiplication to grow.

2. We must be careful to contextualise whatever model it is we choose to follow. Just because somebody writes a best seller for an American context, for example, does not necessarily mean it will literally translate to the UK. We must develop models of leadership training that best fits our own people in our own particularised situation. What works well in a middle class church doesn’t often translate into a housing scheme/council estate ministry (and vice versa).

3. Develop various roles and leaders who fit into different categories. I like to choose a person for my team and build a ministry around them rather than try to squeeze them into a pre-moulded job description. Traditional churches thrive on the ‘job spec’ approach and will choose a candidate who fits into a particular role. Of course, there is common sense to this but church planters have to be able see potential and gifting in order to allow people to grow into and develop roles for themselves based on their inherent giftings.

4. We should have a flexible approach to training. Some people may be suited to Bible Colleges, but most trainees in schemes will not. For example, some will be good readers and some will not. Some will get it quickly and some will not. So, we have to develop training and mentoring systems that flexibly deal with this and adapt accordingly. We must not get into the ‘one size fits all’ approach to training.

5. Embrace risk and failure. This is why it is sometimes better to plant than to revitalise. We must take gambles on people and we must hold our hands up when it doesn’t work out. Many traditional churches don’t like failure and therefore take fewer risks the more established they become. Most of the time when we fail we take more ‘risk assessments’ in order to limit the ‘damage‘ and make sure we don’t do it again. Whilst there is wisdom in that, this sort of conservative approach can be death to a church planting initiative because it tends to inhibit ideas and potential growth.

6. Good accountability is a must when developing new leaders. We operate a mentoring approach at NCC which ensures that there is adequate feedback, challenge and ample space for prayer, discussion and spiritual growth across the board. We have been impressed recently with The Gospel Coach, which, whilst not new to us, does offer some great online tools in this area. Steve Timmis, from Acts 29WE is the man to contact for more information on this for the UK. Email: contacts@acts29we.org for more information.

7. Church planters must delegate. This is a key point. Control freaks kill ministry and kill development. Give people a chance to serve and develop their skill set on the ground, otherwise the ministry will only grow to a certain level and then the work will stagnate. This can mean personal sacrifice in terms of letting go of things you like to do and also a temporary drop in quality of some ministries as people learn through practice.

8. We must realise that training is an ongoing process of development. Some things will work for a season and then we must adapt and discover new and better material. Leaders must continually be honing their own gifts and keep on being humble and open to continuous spiritual growth and personal development.

Many of these points I learned from my time with Redeemer Presbyterian in New York. I am sure there are more things to say but these 8 points are certainly a good place to start for us.